Plano reinstates some disaster authority for city staff, opens door for citizen commissions to meet again

City Manager Mark Israelson addresses Plano City Council at a March 17 meeting. The council on May 5 approved additional authority for Israelson to make decisions on staffing and purchases during the ongoing state and local disaster declarations related to the new coronavirus. (Screenshot via city of Plano)
City Manager Mark Israelson addresses Plano City Council at a March 17 meeting. The council on May 5 approved additional authority for Israelson to make decisions on staffing and purchases during the ongoing state and local disaster declarations related to the new coronavirus. (Screenshot via city of Plano)

City Manager Mark Israelson addresses Plano City Council at a March 17 meeting. The council on May 5 approved additional authority for Israelson to make decisions on staffing and purchases during the ongoing state and local disaster declarations related to the new coronavirus. (Screenshot via city of Plano)

The city of Plano opened the door for citizen commissions to begin meeting again and empowered the city staff to make certain coronavirus-related decisions a week after allowing the city’s former disaster declaration to expire.

Plano City Council on May 5 approved new authority for City Manager Mark Israelson that allows him to take similar actions with city staffing and expenditures, purchases and waiving of some city codes as he was able to when the city had its own local disaster order.

Several council members expressed a desire for citizen boards and commissions to be allowed to meet again when they are ready—possibly by videoconference.

Israelson said these commission meetings would likely come at some cost to the city in the form of software licenses and city staff time, part of the reason they have not been held in recent weeks.

The city will continue to move forward without a formal disaster declaration as it relies on similar coronavirus orders from the state and federal governments.


Council members allowed the city’s declaration to expire April 27 after Israelson told them Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest orders covered all the activities the city wanted to remain restricted.

Israelson said at the time that he came to that recommendation after consulting with the city’s emergency management department, the city attorney’s office and his own deputies.

The new authority approved May 5 is set to expire June 8, or when the state and federal disaster declarations expire, whichever comes first.
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper in Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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